2020 DNC, themed ‘We The People,’ opens in midst of pandemic

Politics

A virtual crowd seen over video links applauds as former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama concludes her remarks in a video grab from the live video feed of the all virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention broadcast from the originally planned site of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 17, 2020. 2020 Democratic National Convention/POOL via REUTERS

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (NewsNation) — All eyes are on Milwaukee Monday night where Democrats initially planned a gathering of tens of thousands of people before moving nearly all of the convention events online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 Democratic National Convention, themed “We the People” starts at 8 p.m. CDT, and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is not there. Instead, he’s staying at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, where he will deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez told The Associated Press on Monday that Biden will be part of the virtual convention’s prime-time programming leading up to his Thursday address. For example, Perez said Monday’s programming will include Biden talking with activists about criminal justice reform.

Perez said viewers this week also will see the former vice president talking about the COVID-19 pandemic and his health care proposals and having conversations with everyday Americans about the economy.

During traditional conventions, the nominee is often mentioned from the speaker’s podium but is largely shielded from view as the convention builds to the acceptance speech on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump Monday held rallies in Mankato, Minnesota and in Oshkosh, Wisconsin — just about an hour and a half north of Milwaukee.

The 2020 Democratic National Convention is unique in modern American political history because of the coronavirus pandemic. Very few people are actually gathering. The funny hats will be gone, the marching bands and roaring crowds absent as the party does the best it can to springboard the Biden-Harris ticket to the White House.

Traditionally, conventions give a candidate a bounce. As for whether the Biden-Harris ticket will be deprived of that because of the circumstances–we just don’t know yet.

The first night of Democrats’ national convention features a lineup of several former Republican officials who are backing former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump.

Officials announced that former Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be making remarks, along with former New York Rep. Susan Molinari and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman.

Kasich was one of the last contenders in the 2016 GOP primary and has been a fierce critic of Trump.

Also slated for Monday night is Meg Whitman, the CEO of mobile streaming platform Quibi. Whitman was a senior member of Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential bids but backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Biden campaign co-chair and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond says the inclusion of speakers from all political backgrounds reflects a theme of unity during national struggles including the coronavirus pandemic.

Other speakers include House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, former first lady Michelle Obama and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The Republicans will convene next week, and they face a similar dilemma. The RNC kicks off Monday, Aug. 24, with official business taking place in North Carolina. President Trump plans to deliver his speech from the White House south lawn. RNC officials have not yet released a list of speakers for the event.

You can stream the DNC and RNC events live right here on NewsNationNow.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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